Over the holidays, I broadened my Google Alerts feed to include not just "urban chickens" but "chickens" (period). And with that change, a flood of news items comes in daily instead of every other week or so.
I'm glad I expanded my horizons, as I've been delightfully surprised at how reverential the (lowly?) chicken is treated across The Pond.
Take today's Western Mail column, Every egg-eating lover of democracy should know how to rear chickens. The column opens with
THE first egg of the year is always a great moment. It’s a sign that the days really are getting longer, and it promises many more deep-yoked delicacies in the days to come.And then it goes on to opine about foxhunting, the ancient Greeks, apple trees and hard labor. I can almost see the author looking out on dreary weather while taking comfort in better days to come.
Granted, here in California, in our first winter raising chooks in the backyard, we've only seen a slowdown of egg-laying (around eight a week, down from a dozen a week), and not a full stoppage. Folks in colder climes (or with older hens?) may actually be experiencing a winter break from fresh eggs . Let me know?
Oh and another thing that's lighting up the RSS feed? Jamie Oliver (the Naked Chef) has gone on a crusade to investigate the poultry industry in the UK , present his findings to the public and alleviate the plight of the chicken farmer who has "to sell something like 100 chickens to make 3 or 4 quid and to [him] that's outrageous." It'll be interesting to follow along and see what he can do... if nothing else, his celebrity is drawing attention to how and where chickens are raised in the UK. I wonder what a similar campaign would look like here in the US?
I'll keep watching the feeds and let you know if I find anything interesting to post about. Seems to me we should be hearing about the status of the ordinances in Missoula, Chicago and Durham soon.